Tang Dynasty Bronze Mirror – China ‘618-907 AD’
Cast bronze, example with a scalloped border and center registers having a floral and dot pattern.
Cast bronze, example with a scalloped border and center registers having a floral and dot pattern. Both with center suspension lugs and have blue-green patinas with areas of red oxides and are intact mounted on a matte black custom stand.
Ex. Marcel Gibrat collection, N.Y.C., collected 40 years ago.
Chinese mirrors typically have one smooth, plain face that was highly polished to a reflective surface. The other side was frequently embellished with lively decorative motifs. Both Han and Tang mirrors are considered to be the most technically advanced. A cord threaded through a hole in the central knob on the back made it easier to hold or carry. Large mirrors were often placed on a stand, and the smallest ones could be kept in the wide sleeve of a garment.
The Chinese magic mirror is an ancient art that can be traced back to the Chinese Han dynasty (206 BC – 24 AD). The mirrors were made out of solid bronze. The front is a shiny polished surface and could be used as a mirror, while the back has a design cast in the bronze. When bright sunlight or other bright light reflects onto the mirror, the mirror seems to become transparent. If that light is reflected from the mirror towards a wall, the pattern on the back of the mirror is then projected onto the wall.
They were used not only as functional artifacts, but also as sacred objects. The Chinese believed mirrors not only reflected light, but also had the ability to radiate it and thus illuminate the tomb for eternity. Often multiple mirrors were entombed close to the body of the deceased. They were also considered powerful talismans that would let you see into the spirit world.